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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Architecture in Helsinki
In Case We Die
Bar-None Records

Rating: 7/10 ?


May 10, 2005
I was watching a piece on Access Hollywood (or one of those interchangeable entertainment shows) about how Disney has been on shaky ground lately. Apparently, Michael Eisner had a bit of a feud with the folks at Pixar, but now that he quit, both parties are on the mend. When I was young, Disney was a pretty indomitable, all-encompassing kind of thing in the air, and I wonder if that's how the kids feel these days. Climb to the top, get lazy and then anger other dudes who should be your teammates? What if children's entertainment asked a little more - did a bit of challenging to go along with emblazoning bibs and pieces of plastic?

It seems that the many, many members of Architecture in Helsinki really dug those Pixar movies, and are up for the challenge. Shrek is so endearing, and those Incredibles? Incredible! Ha! After recording their debut, Fingers Crossed, they had a team meeting and decided they could move things forward. They arranged a meeting with the progeny of the Disney fortune and their like-minded equals/bitter, bitter rivals at the limited liability company, Pixar. They ordered only the finest deli trays, the ladies wore their best and the group even dialed in investors from Japan. Architecture in Helsinki had a bomb to drop: they had written the soundtrack to Pixar's gritty coming of age musical, In Case We Die.

Cinematic and purposefully clumsy, coy and cutesy and sprawling in intermittence, this is music to prance to. It is reminiscent of musicals, where people are always prancing about and speaking in song. It seems like the most common comparison of the day is with the Fiery Furnaces, who have that same kind of appeal; but Architecture in Helsinki doesn't thrive on simple ridiculousness. The melodies of In Case We Die are nice, but not all across the pallet like their counterparts.

Instead, this is a very pleasant record with nice organic sounds and a childlike, whimsical thread sewn throughout the entire disc. While charming, it's not quite worthy of the "Best New Music" tag it's been given (although, cheers to the records they'll sell due to the press). It has its stumbling points: the singing is incredibly iffy, and even when they drop into choir mode, it's tough to get anything of weight out of the lyrical content.

These seeming shortcomings wind up being fine after all, simply adding to the authenticity: "Do The Whirlwind" turns a dancing bass synth line that you, or anyone else, could have committed to tape into a skillful, horn-riddled hop-scotch parlay for the kids. "Frenchy, I'm Faking" takes you back to that Athens/Kindercore late 90s scene that we all loved. To be honest, that scene is conjured throughout the record; if Beulah were less a band and more a University of Georgia student organization that recorded albums, this would be the one they'd make after the crabby lead singer graduated, the pressure lifted, and they had to elect a new president.

The Incredibles was the in-flight movie the last time I was on a plane. I didn't listen to it, so I don't really know what was happening, but the daughter in the family seemed to be part of the "reluctant misunderstood teenage girl" genre of animated characters… or at least she had black hair. The Disney/Pixar smash, In Case We Die - opening Christmas 2006, rated PG-13 (definitely not PG) - will follow that chick through whatever trials and tribulations would happen with boys, school, and maybe drugs or eating disorders. Fine, maybe not that heavy - there would most definitely be prancing, lots of zooming in on falling snow and driving around in cars listening to the Postal Service. Plus, there'd be a nice little make-out scene for album closer, "What's In Store?", which of course would suggest: Sequel!

Reviewed by Jeremy Keller
A staff writer for LAS, Jeremy Keller uses his uncanny ability to intellectualize sports for the greater good of mankind.

See other reviews by Jeremy Keller

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